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2013 Draft Prep: Nando Di Fino's Busts

Senior Fantasy Writer
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True story from within the walls of CBSSports.com: I actually pleaded to make this "busts" column just one very long "bust" column instead, centered solely on Melky Cabrera.

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It didn't fly. But know that whatever you read in Cabrera's little capsule below, I had many more strongly-worded, well-thought out reasons on why he will disappoint. I even pushed him far down my rankings -- in the 80s for outfielders -- to make sure he doesn't come anywhere near my queue. By the time I would consider him, once all the Lucas Dudas and Juan Pierres have been selected, he will be long gone, and I will be a happy man.

The rest of the players you'll encounter below may not fit the traditional definition of "bust." I simply feel like they're going a little too high for where I would want to pick them in drafts, or pay for them in auctions. Their output, in short, won't reach their lofty draft position. I may kind of like these players in a vacuum, but I'd like them more as a seventh-round pick, not a fourth-round one.

Here are your 2013 busts.

Melky Cabrera, OF, Blue Jays (Roto: Rd. 8, H2H: Rd. 6)

There's a little tiny voice inside of me that likes to bubble up, in the middle of a sweaty, disorienting "I hate Melky" diatribe, and suggest that Cabrera just got into shape, dedicated himself to becoming a better player, and that the steroids -- which he tested positive for and admitted to taking -- had little to do with his development. I quickly squash that voice.

One of my favorite allies in the fight against Melky's legitimacy is the advanced stat known as BABIP. This seems like it would be at odds with the anecdotal "Melky used steroids and will stink this year" theme of my argument. But his BABIP rose the last two years (.332 in 2011 and .379 in 2012, with it never having gone above .288 in the three previous seasons), which suggests, at least to me, that Cabrera started hitting the ball with more authority, a result of strength gained from the PEDs.

Cabrera's rise in BABIP also could have been the result of him beating out more lightly-hit balls for singles, as his leg muscles grew stronger thanks to the drugs. This segues neatly into why his steals will probably go down. Where most of the griping about steroids over the past decade has been centered on power numbers, Cabrera had 33 total steals the last two seasons; he had 26 the three previous combined.

I can go on about the psychology of him being branded a cheater wherever he goes. Of the sluggishness his body will encounter as the season drags on and he has no juice left, so to speak, in the dregs of the summer months. But there are nine more busts to get to, and I think my point has been made.

Zack Greinke, SP, Dodgers (Roto: Rd. 5, H2H: Rd. 3)

Let's pretend, just for a moment, that Greinke's elbow is totally fine and there's no worry associated with his arm. He's still going too early in drafts, ahead of Bryce Harper, R.A. Dickey, and David Wright in H2H leagues, and ahead of Matt Holliday, Dickey, and Ryan Zimmerman in Roto formats. Yes, Greinke was awesome in 2009, with a 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and a 9.5 K/9. But he followed that up with a 4.17 ERA and 1.25 WHIP the next year, and it's easy to forget -- or at least overlook -- his relatively high 3.77 career ERA and 1.25 WHIP, including a 3.83 ERA in his last three seasons. Greinke has only managed a K/9 of 9.0 or above twice in his nine-year career. He's good, but I'm not sure his numbers justify his lofty draft status, which could lead to a disappointing high draft pick.

Now throw in the elbow issues on top of all this, and you can see why I'm side-stepping Greinke on Draft Day

Mike Trout, OF, Angels (Roto: Rd. 1, H2H: Rd. 1)

This isn't some attempt to get myself attention and have some big, smug "conversation" on Twitter with people who disagree. If I wanted to do that, I would have put him up top, made the picture a big one of Trout striking out, and blasted this story out every few minutes with annoyingly tantalizing teases like, "Trout a bust? Tell me what you think!"

This is simply an argument against Trout repeating his 2012, which has led to his inflated draft status. He may finish top 20 overall, but I doubt that Trout will be the No. 1 overall Fantasy player by the end of the year. For starters, Trout's power is due for a correction. I would be happy -- as a Trout owner -- with 20 home runs from him. I would expect his average to stay about the same -- with the chance for improvement -- and could see him stealing about 40 bases. Again, a .300-plus average with 17 home runs and 40 steals is a great season, but not No. 1 overall (and it also makes one wonder why Trout's 2012 gets all this love, while Jacoby Ellsbury's almost-identical 2011 -- with fewer strikeouts and more doubles -- is considered a fluke).

But here's the rub: almost all of the first-round picks -- outside of Miguel Cabrera -- have their own problems and downsides. So I still think Trout should be picked third overall, because he has a ton of (and I am inventing something here, so go along with me) Fantasy Pop Culture value, which makes him attractive in a trade. Trout is essentially a status symbol -- people want to have him on their teams because it's cool. Drafting Trout is kind of like booking Kim Kardashian to emcee your 16th birthday party, when you could probably pay the same amount for a music group that could do far more entertaining. At the end of the night, you may have liked the fact that she was there, but you probably would have enjoyed yourself more if you had hired The Roots instead.

I'm not saying don't draft Trout. I'm saying if you do, and you don't try to trade him immediately for smaller pieces that have more overall value, you may end up being disappointed by the end of the year.

Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers (Roto: Rd. 3, H2H: Rd. 3)

I keep going back and forth on Kinsler.

On one hand, he's topped the 30 home run mark twice in the last four years. On the other hand, his home run and steal numbers took a marked dip in 2012, following a 32-homer, 30-steal career year in 2011. I think Kinsler, who is being drafted in or around the top 30, is getting the dual benefit of being in what people consider a shallow pool of second basemen, while the 2011 season dances in the heads of would-be owners. It's a dangerous combination.

First, because second base isn't especially shallow, especially for speculators who can scoop up Jedd Gyorko, Josh Rutledge, and Matt Carpenter in anticipation of the trio gaining second base eligibility at the end of the season's first week. Secondly, Kinsler's erratic output over the last five seasons -- over his entire career, in fact -- hits a floor that is comparable to Chase Utley's upside (some combination of 35-40 total steals and home runs).

One may argue that Utley is a gamble, but Kinsler's most consistent number has been his average, and not in a good way -- it has ended up between .253 and .257 in three of the last four years. Owners are passing on Adrian Beltre, David Wright and Justin Upton in order to shore up second base with Kinsler, but they're failing to recognize that a player like Jason Kipnis could outperform the Rangers second baseman -- especially considering Texas' loss of Josh Hamilton and the possibility that Kinsler might have to deal with a rhythm-interrupting mid-season position change to accommodate Jurickson Profar.

Chase Headley, 3B, Padres (Roto: Rd. 5, H2H: Rd. 6)

I am granting "Injury Absolution" to Headley (and his broken thumb) for right now, much like I did with Greinke. The problem I have with Headley is his sudden leap in power, as he went from four home runs in 2011 to 31 in 2012. There's a school of thought that Headley finally figured things out in 2012, tapping into the power he saw in the minors and clicking, at long last, on the major league level. And with PETCO Park moving the fences in this year, Headley stands to gain even more in the power department.

But I take the opposite route. Headley saw a huge, almost unbelievable, jump in HR/FB rate, from 4.3 percent in 2011 to 21.4 percent in 2012. Basically, one out of every five fly balls he hit went out of the park. His highest rate prior to last season came in 2008, when he had a 10.7 percent HR/FB rate. His overall fly ball percentage didn't change, nor did his GB/FB ratio (at least not enough to make a note of it). And while he hit a handful more home runs on the road than at home, Headley's most interesting split came when comparing his second half to his first, as he hit 19 home runs in the last two months of the season.

In other words, by the end of August, Headley had 12 home runs. He more than doubled that in his final 57 games. To me, that's a hot streak, not a steady progression of power that he built up over the course of a year. Even with Headley's ADP drop thanks to the broken thumb, he still started out far too high -- based on one power-filled season -- to be attractive enough to grab in a draft.

Alex Rios, OF, White Sox (Roto: Rd. 8, H2H: Rd. 9)

The beef with Rios isn't that he is incapable of having a good season; it's that drafters have short memories and are picking him up based on his 2012, acting like it was a major breakout ... at the age of 31.

We've been down this road with Rios before, only to discover that everything looks vaguely familiar, before realizing the road is just one large circle, leading us back to where we started (namely, one of his down seasons). Rios has the ability to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases, but he's accomplished both in the same year just twice over nine seasons. To his credit, those two 20/20 seasons have come in the last three years, but he has a trend, throughout his career, of following up promise with disappointment. It's a constant see-saw with Rios -- he can hit a lot of doubles, but won't do so with consistency. He cut down his strikeouts, but also brought down his walks. He has never hit 18 home runs two seasons in a row and has never stolen 25 bases two seasons in a row.

There's always a qualifier with Rios -- two seasons ago, two of his last three, four of his nine years. The term here is "maddening," and Rios is the poster child. With a good season under his belt in 2012, history has led us to believe that 2013 should be more of the 15 home run, 20 steal variety, doing little, ultimately, to justify his ADP.

Rafael Soriano, RP, Nationals (Roto: Rd. 8, H2H: Rd. 8)

If Soriano signed with any other team, I'd be leaving him off all of my lists -- neither a breakout nor bust, just a solid closer who could get 40 saves. But Washington manager Davey Johnson has three closers at his disposal. And he's been known throughout his managerial career to give away some saves to pitchers who weren't his primary closer, including Hector Carrasco, Roger McDowell, Armando Benitez, and Chuck McElroy.

Granted, the bullpen usage history isn't easily explained away by saying, "Johnson mixes and matches," (there are injuries, cold streaks, implosions, etc.) but he has a track record of using secondary pitchers in save situations, he has two pitchers who saved 32 (Tyler Clippard) and 43 (Drew Storen) games in the last two seasons serving as middle relievers, and the Nationals could probably benefit from giving Soriano a day off here and there to keep his arm fresh for the postseason.

Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers (Roto: Rd. 11, H2H: Rd. 11)

The beauty of Cruz has always been his ability to hit 20 home runs and steal 10-15 bases, while batting over .270. In actuality, this season played out exactly one time, in 2010: Cruz his .318 with 22 home runs and 17 steals. His 2009, arguably better, saw Cruz launch 33 homers and steal 20 bases, but his average stalled out at .260.

In fact, looking at Cruz' full body of work, one realizes that his big stats may have been a bit of a mirage: he's hit 25 or more home runs just twice. He's stolen 20 bases just once. He's hit over .270 in a season with more than 150 at-bats one time. While Cruz managed 159 games played in 2012, he averaged 120 games the three previous years.

Cruz' potential lies in those 42 games per season he never played -- he could hit 30 home runs, but he's always hurt. He could bat .280, but... well, he doesn't. Cruz is going to play 2013 without Josh Hamilton and it appears as though he's stopped trying to steal bases. Are 22 home runs, eight steals, and a .260 average enough to draft Cruz over Brett Lawrie, Wilin Rosario, or even Josh Willingham? I say no. The potential isn't the problem with Cruz, it's the convergence of the counting stats into one single stat line that he can't seem to deliver on.

Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays (Roto: Rd. 9, H2H: Rd. 9)

From 2007 to 2011, Rodney pitched 266 2/3 innings. He made 270 appearances. And his ERA was 4.42 and WHIP sat at 1.50. In 2012, Rodney had a 0.60 ERA with a 0.78 WHIP. His walk rate was the lowest of his career. His strikeout rate was the highest since 2008. He did it all at the age of 35.

Yes, there is a chance that Rodney moved his mound position, adopted a new outlook on things, and essentially became a new pitcher. That would be a great story -- a late-career blooming of talent, a pitching coach who corrected a flaw, a hard-throwing reliever with a new outlook on life and his career. Amy Adams could play the pitching coach's daughter falling in love with the team's mascot, who Rodney became friends with as both sat dejected one night in spring training 2012, before their lives were turned around.

More likely, however, Rodney just caught lightning in a bottle, and is due for a major correction in 2013. Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan, and Huston Street -- all being taken after Rodney -- are safer options.

Marco Scutaro, SS/2B, Giants (Roto: Rd. 16, H2H: Rd. 13)

Scutaro hit seven home runs and stole nine bases last year, while batting .306. He is being drafted ahead of about 80 players more deserving of that roster spot. Fine, Scutaro can hit doubles -- and I would guess he gets around 30 playing for the Giants this year. Plus, Scutaro has seen his average climb in the last few seasons: before 2009, his career average was .261. Four years later, he has raised it to .276.

But I'm not sure what people are expecting from Scutaro -- he's Omar Infante with less power and steal potential. Infante's career average is just one point (.275) below Scutaro's. You can give a slight edge in points leagues to Scutaro, but to the extent where Scutaro is the 145th player taken while Infante is wallowing around the 320s? And it's not just Infante who looks like a value in comparison -- Neil Walker is slotting in at 189, Dustin Ackley is sitting at 192, and Howard Kendrick is at 249. A drafter could get similar value from those three players, and they're going several rounds after Scutaro.

It's a little crazy to me that Scutaro is being drafted high enough to even get bust consideration, but an ADP putting him in the 16th round makes him a starter, and Scutaro will end up disappointing owners who ignore the downside of this pick.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Peter Moylan 'doing fantastic' in return from Tommy John
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:42 pm ET) Free-agent pitcher Peter Moylan indicated Friday that he's "doing fantastic" in his return from his second Tommy John surgery, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"I’m doing fantastic, mate. Dropped 35 pounds," Moylan said. “My goal is to be 100 percent by end of spring. Ball is coming out great, though. Probably have to throw for some teams right around the start of spring to gauge interest, but there have already been some nibbles, which is encouraging."

Moylan underwent the procedure last March after receiving a non-roster invitation from the Astros. He's throwing from about 70 percent strength off a mound and in the process of deciding whether to sign a a deal in the near future or after the season begins. He hopes to resume pitching in the big leagues by midseason at the earliest.

Moylan has made 309 appearances since debuting in 2006, compiling a 21-9 record, 2.80 ERA and 213:121 K:BB ratio in 276 innings.


Braves' Shelby Miller: Sinker is 'going to take me to the next level'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:42 pm ET) Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller had an up-and-down season with the Cardinals in 2014. He began the season by going 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA before going 2-7 with a 5.11 ERA over his next 16 appearances (15 starts).

Miller, however, was able to finish the season on a high note, going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and .190 opponents' batting average over his final seven starts. Miller attributes his success down the stretch to incorporating a sinker into his repertoire, per FOX Sports South.

"I said I'm going to throw some of these, and we'll see where it's at," Miller said of a conversation he had with catcher A.J. Pierzynski before an Aug. 23 start against the Phillies. "It felt good so we just went with it. I started throwing it literally within three days. It's a good pitch that I picked up quick.

"I still need a lot of work with it. I need a lot of work with all my pitches. There's all sorts of ways to get better. But I think that's definitely a pitch that will help me be more efficient and take me deeper into games. That's [the sinker] going to be a huge pitch for me this year that's ultimately going to take me to the next level. Not only that but kind of mixing it all together, becoming more of a complete pitcher more than a thrower."

Miller added he will also begin to work more on his changeup, which he threw just 2.2 percent of the time in 2014, per FanGraphs.com.

"I know [Braves pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] has been known for changeups," Miller said. "A lot of great pitchers have come through this organization, [and] that's a pitch I would love to pick up. I want to be able to throw it more consistently, [and] have a little bit more confidence in it."


Scott Baker agrees to minor-league deal with Yankees
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:16 pm ET) The Yankees agreed to a minor-league deal with pitcher Scott Baker, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. If Baker makes the major-league roster, he will be paid $1.5 million.

Baker made 25 appearances (eight starts) for the Rangers in 2014, going 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA. He had 55 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.


Rockies designate Jayson Aquino for assignment
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) After completing a two-team trade Friday, the Rockies decided to designate Jayson Aquino for assignment, the team announced.

Aquino spent 2014 bouncing around the minor league, pitching in 18 games with a 5.13 ERA in 107 innings pitched. He went 5-10 with 83 strikeouts in stints with both Double-A Tulsa and Class A Modesto.


Report: Red Sox express willingness to trade Edward Mujica
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:22 pm ET) The Red Sox have expressed a willingness to trade reliever Edward Mujica, a source told FOX Sports. The right-handed reliever is set to make $4.75 million in 2015.

Mujica, who was an All-Star with St. Louis in 2013, went 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA and eight saves in his first season with Boston in 2014.


Orioles 1B/OF Steve Pearce agrees to $3.7M salary for 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:16 pm ET) The Orioles avoided arbitration with outfielder/first baseman Steve Pearce, agreeing to a $3.7 million salary for 2015, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Pearce reportedly filed for $5.4 million, while the Orioles reportedly offered $2 million.

Pearce is coming off his best season as a major leaguer, batting .293 with a .373 on-base percentage, .556 slugging percentage, .930 OPS, 21 home runs, 26 doubles and 49 RBI in 102 games.


Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is 'staying put'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:57 pm ET) A team source told CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman that Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is "staying put."  Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich told FOX Sports earlier in the week that it is "highly, highly unlikely" Tulowitzki will be traded before opening day.

Tulowitzki, who has been linked to trade rumors involving the Mets this offseason, is under contract through 2020 on a six-year, $118 million deal. He is also recovering from August hip surgery.


Red Sox agree to deal with pitcher Alexi Ogando
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:52 pm ET) The Red Sox have agreed to a deal with pitcher Alexi Ogando, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. It is a one-year, $1.5 million contract, which includes $1.5 million in bonuses, according to USA Today.

Ogando has been a free agent since being non-tendered by the Rangers in December. Ogando made just 27 relief appearances in 2014 due to an elbow injury. He went 2-3 with a 6.84 ERA.

Ogando, who was an All-Star in 2011, also has experience starting at the major-league level, going 19-12 with a 3.40 ERA in 48 career starts.


Braves trade RPs Hale, Schlosser to Rockies for two minor leaguers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:42 pm ET) The Braves traded pitchers David Hale and Gus Schlosser to the Rockies on Friday in exchange for catchers Jose Briceno and Chris O’Dowd.

Hale went 4-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 45 relief appearances for Atlanta in 2014. He struck out 44 batters and issued 39 walks in 87 1/3 innings.

Schlosser made his MLB debut in 2014, going 0-1 with a 7.64 ERA in 15 relief outings for Atlanta. He struck out eight and walked six in 17 2/3 innings.

Briceno hit .283 with 12 home runs, 23 doubles and 50 RBI in 84 games for Class A Asheville in 2014. He has a career .280/.433/.776 slash line over five minor-league seasons.

O'Dowd hit .271 with five home runs, 27 doubles and 48 RBI in 113 games between high Class A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa in 2014. He has a career .260/.362/.689 slash line over three minor-league seasons.


Tigers' Dombrowski: Steven Moya 'relatively close' to making impact
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Tigers outfield prospect Steven Moya, who was the MVP of the Eastern League (Double-A) in 2014, is expected to open the season at Triple-A Toledo, per the Detroit Free Press.

"I don't know if I'd say we're buying time for Moya," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said last week. "Probably when a guy as talented as Moya is ready, he'll make his way onto a team. I don't think we could absolutely say, trying to win a pennant, trying to win a world championship, you can count on him being 100 percent ready."

The 23-year-old Moya hit .276 with a .555 slugging percentage, .861 OPS, 33 doubles, 35 home runs and 105 RBI in 133 games last season at Double-A. He has a career .251/.444/.739 slash line over six minor-league seasons.

Moya also made a brief appearance in the majors last season, batting .375 (3 for 8) in 11 games.

"I think the development time will be good for him" Dombrowski said. "Could he come up and produce at some time during the year? Yes. He's relatively close."


 
 
 
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